Ven Henpitagedera Gnanaseeha Nayaka Thero
Ven Henpitagedera Gnanaseeha was born on 18th December 1909 as the third son of Don Bastian Perera Sakalasuriya Ralahamy and Dona Alice Jayasinghe Hamine. His primary education was at Henpitagedera Mixed School and he was the only student who passed the Benham Scholarship Examination in Colombo district.
Young Samaraweera Sakalasuriya (His Lay name) entered sasana on 16th January 1919 under the preceptorage of Ven Mudugamuwe Nayaka Thero. Ven Gnanaseeha attended Balagalle Saraswathui Piriwena and completed the samanera education under Hisselle Sri Gnanodaya Nayaka Thero. His intelligence was such that by 1939 he was able pass the Rajakeeya Panditha Examination with Ubhayasekera Gold seal.
After the education Ven Gnanaseeha served as a teacher at the Balagalla Saraswathi Piriwena. On the request of Ven Elamaldeniye Sumedhalankara thero (another past pupil of Balagalle piriwena), Ven Gnanaseeha came to Rathnapura in 1934 to set up Sri Sumana Piriwena in Rathnapura. He was the driving force to build and inaugurate this great Bhikku trainingcenter which was opened on 26th July 1934. Not stiopping at this great deed Venerable thro gave impetus to open Sri Sumana Maha Vidyalaya, Sri Sumana Balika Vidyalaya, Bulugahapitiya- Eheliyagoda , Sri Sumana Vidyalaya Thummodera, , Sri Sumana Vidyalaya Theppanawa, Vidyartha Piriwena Inginiyagala, Sariputta piriwena Wathupitiya, Muwagamkanda Vidyalaya, Paathakada Vidyalaya, Sarvodaya Praja Bhikku Training center etc.
His brave stand on National issues made him a feared opponent for the rulers. Many consider that His involvement in politics was one of the reasons for the social revolution of 1956 which toppled the existing social scheme. Due to his political views and activities he was imprisoned and was in prison for over three years. Using this period of physical containment Ven Gnanaseeha wrote and published nearly 40 books on Dhamma.
He made many Buddhists shiver with his last radio broadcast by accepting the Gandhabba existence between death and rebirth. Within a week of this controversial Desana Vent hero passed away on 1st August 1981.
May he attain Nibbana.